John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Saturday 23 June 2012

[Friday 22 June 2012]
Janet was awake before I was. Got up ca.6.15am. We were the first in the restaurant for breakfast at 7.15am.
 There were a lot of Germans staying in the hotel, a group which sat day by day at the table to the left of us, and many others who had more recently arrived and had tables in the other half of the restaurant (the self-service food area divided the restaurant into two). As these arrived for breakfast and passed us on the way to the other half, each one bid us “Morgen!”
 Then the Brits started to come and fill up our half. At the table to the right of us was a couple with a daughter of perhaps just teen age. The mother was always opening her mouth to state the obvious or make some fatuous comment, so we called her “Connie” [cf. Holiday in Austria (2): Connie]. They’d apparently taken the daughter out of school for this holiday, which “Connie” deemed more educational for her than time spent in lessons.
 There was no one at the bus stop when we went out into another hot day. We sat across the road by the lake on a bench in the shade till the bus appeared in the distance, then went back across to the bus stop where a lot of people were now waiting: Brits whom we recognised from the hotel; and some Germans from the same, one of whom looked like Lee van Cleef. It was a bendy bus, on which most of the seats were taken. The problem with asking for the fare in Italian, “Due per Malcesine centro, per favore”, was that the driver told me the amount in Italian, and I hadn’t learnt numbers! Janet and I went down beyond the “bend”, or articulation, in the bus, where someone pointed out that there were seats near the end. Janet sat not quite at the end, and I sat at the back — next to “Connie”! I took a photo in the bus, and she asked me, “Does your camera have automatic shut-off?” or similar.

09:32:08 Boarding the bus at Assenza

09:36:49 It was a bendy bus. Lee van Cleef can be seen standing in the aisle.

09:51:07 Off to the “funivia”, the cable-car to the top of Monte Baldo

09:52:50 The lower station of the “funivia”

09:57:23 View of Malcesine from the “funivia” station

09:57:37 Waiting for the next cable-car

10:00:44 Boarding the cable-car

10:02:22 View backwards of Malcesine

10:03:05 View over Lake Garda

10:09:24 At the intermediate station


10:14:20 I went to the front of the car because I wanted a forward view…

10:17:34 …not realising that the car would rotate.

10:19:48 I intended to photograph the other car as it was about to pass, but by this time I was facing backwards.

10:21:02 Facing forward again

10:22:18 Approaching the upper station


After my experience up Lamberti tower, Verona, I was a bit apprehensive about going on the Malcesine–Monte Baldo cable-car, but in the event I felt not a qualm. Janet reported afterwards that she did, though. The top of Monte Baldo was covered with low cloud, which meant that one could see almost nothing to the east. I heard the sound of many cow-bells but saw almost nothing of the cattle. Janet chose to stay in the terminal bar/restaurant because she’d come unprepared for cool weather; but I went for a short stroll, at first picking my way up (with difficulty because of my sore feet) to where I could see the lake below, and then walked a little way, over a rise, to the north. There’s a further cableway, presumably to ski-slopes, that wasn’t in use. Brown furry llama-like animals, cropped like French poodles, were a surprise on the far side of the hill!

10:26:42 Monte Baldo had become shrouded in low cloud, so one could see little to the east,…

10:31:38 …and the lake below to the west was almost obscured.


10:45:34 Family of shorn alpaca grazing on the other side of the hilltop to the north of the cable-car station


10:52:10 Marginally better visibility on the slope. There was a herd of cattle somewhere, for I could hear a chorus of cow-bells.

10:52:32 Descending back to the cable-car station

I returned to the cable-car station and its bar/restaurant, and found Janet; then, as we waited for a car back down, there were flashes of lightning and rumblings of thunder some distance away, and black clouds passed over us. Then it started to rain quite heavily. The thunder hadn’t stopped completely when the car set out. It didn’t rotate on the way down.

11:09:00 Storm-clouds pass overhead as we wait to board the car.


11:36:54 About to pass the other car — no rotation on the way down

As the car approached the intermediate station, a man appeared there with a squeegee mop and swept a large puddle of rainwater from the gangway.

11:42:12 At the intermediate station


11:47:54 Brief sunshine brightens the town.

The rain had eased off when we emerged into the warmth of ground level. We encountered “Connie” — with daughter only — and she asked if we’d seen her husband. Our secret supposal that he’d escaped over the mountains to Switzerland proved unfounded when we saw them all together later in the town.

12:02:32 Walking down into the old town

12:05:48 View back from the piazza

12:06:54 Looking for the landing stage of the boat to Limone

We arrived at what looked like it could be the landing-stage for the boat to Limone. (It wasn’t, though, but someone whom we asked pointed us in the right direction.) While we were there we saw some ducks that plainly weren’t mallards. Janet suggested “pochard”, but they weren’t quite like the pochard we saw once back home.

Pochard, Cleethorpes Boating Lake, 11 July 2006

12:11:48 Male red-crested pochard

12:13:50 Pair of red-crested pochards

We walked the way we’d been directed, and there was a larger landing-stage for boats. We mistakenly thought a boat we saw was the one we were expecting ca.12.30pm, but were told that this one would leave for Limone at 1.30pm. We bought tickets — and afterwards realised that this was a private business and not the “official” service. Ah, well! What to do for the next hour? We’d intended to have lunch in Limone, but decided to have it now. We found a restaurant on the piazza. I had a pizza, which looked huge when it came, but was thin and therefore not over-filling — just right, in fact. Janet had the deepest, most layered lasagne she’d ever had. The knife, fork and paper napkin came in a long paper envelope, along with two types of oil and two vinegars in a large cruet-stand, and a basket with bread and bread-sticks in it. I had a carafe of red wine, and Janet had an “orange soda”. (Elsewhere, she had a “lemon soda”. These contained a high percentage of juice, and she wished she could get the same back home.)

12:45:26 Pizza Diavola at a ristorante on the piazza…

12:45:32 …and lasagne al forno


I was a bit concerned that I should have brought more money with me, but there was enough for Janet to buy a tub of three different kinds of ice cream — lemon, cherry and mango — on the way to the boat.

13:11:40 A rather creepy-looking living statue

13:13:52 A living-statue mermaid

We boarded the boat — Janet went below and I aloft — but the next I knew was Janet calling to me to say we had to get off and go on the other boat that had just tied up.

13:17:54 View from the boat we were first invited to board, of the boat to which we then were asked to transfer for the lake crossing

13:22:26 View from the second boat



There was a group of Germans on the roof-deck of this boat, who got merrier and noisier as the wind got stronger and the water choppier. The “life and soul” of this party was a man in his forties with very receded gums and long teeth. The boat pitched and slapped into oncoming waves, and rolled this way and that. Janet feared that she might lose the lasagne and ice cream! She was below; and when we arrived and she saw me, she thought I looked “wild” — my hair was all wind-blown.

13:29:30 Despite rough “seas”, the wind-surfers were still out.

13:38:08 Gallery to protect vehicles from falling rocks

13:39:14 End of the gallery and entrance to the tunnel

13:39:34 Holes through to the nearby tunnel


13:41:24 Waterfall

13:43:22 Limone

13:44:00 Limone

13:49:28 Limone

13:50:42 Limone

13:51:04 Limone: white pillars of lemon terraces visible



13:53:02 Approaching the pier at which the boat would be moored

The rain had been slight on the crossing, but now it was quite heavy; so sheltering in a vaulted arcade and in shop doorways, we were unable to do much exploring. I counted my euros and we took refuge in a quayside bar.




14:16:26 Vaulted arcade

14:29:28 Shelter in a bar







15:01:44 Tying up the boat in preparation for boarding


15:08:52 Leaving Limone

15:25:38 Approaching Malcesine


I sat below with Janet on the return voyage. Back in Malcesine it had stopped raining as we waited for the bus. It was a “normal”, unarticulated coach back.

15:42:38 Cable car on the lower section of the “funivia”: seen while waiting for the bus back to Assenza

15:43:34 Cable cars about to pass each other on the upper section of the “funivia”: seen while waiting for the bus back to Assenza

15:56:48 Arrival of the bus back to Assenza


It was stifling back in our room. Edited 44 photos, taken yesterday, with Photoshop (16:44–18:09), while Janet did some packing. We went for dinner, but I excused myself when I’d finished and didn’t wait for Janet. I needed to “sit down” again and was feeling a bit ill. The fact that the Wiener Schnitzel was laden with salt, as much of the food was at that hotel, didn’t help. Built-in emetic! Continued with photos: editing the remaining 7 from yesterday (18:57–19:12) and 78 from today (19:14–22:20). Broke off at one point because there was a phone call to say that there’d be no one on reception tomorrow, so I needed to go to return the safe key and settle the bill. Both of us had undressed, but I put on my clothes and went down. The receptionist returned my €20 for the safe key, then gave me a bill for €11-odd for some local hotel tax. Janet lay on the bed and actually “went to bed” early, so didn’t see a slide show after I finished the photos. I reclined on the bed and read Leaving Babylon.

[Sunday 24 June 2012]

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